All applicants for the Ph.D. degree must submit a complete application, including college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) scores. No specific GRE scores are required, but admissions are competitive. For the 2015 admission cycle, the average GRE scores for admitted students were 165 on the verbal section, 161 on the quantitative section, and a 5 on the writing section.

In order for GRE scores to be matched with a student's application, the University of Pennsylvania must be selected as the recipient. The Institution Code is (2926) and our Department Code is (1999).  Official GRE scores are required before a letter of acceptance can be sent.

There are no specific requirements for the personal statement. In general, applicants should focus on research interests and how a PhD degree in political science will help in achieving long term goals. The typical length is two pages double spaced.


Applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit the results of their TOEFL exam unless they have obtained a degree from a university or college in an English speaking nation. Penn's Institution Code is (2926) and our Department Code is (89). IELTS scores are also accepted. Applicants from non-English speaking countries are also required to submit a ten-page paper, however any student may submit a writing sample. Writing samples must be written in English, preferably on some aspect of political science. If you submit a writing sample, please upload a maximum of 10 pages double spaced with your online application. Due to the volume of applications, writing samples longer than 10 pages will not be read.

Transcripts should also be uploaded on-line, but accepted applicants will have to submit original transcripts before matriculating.

Applicants are accepted for full-time work towards the Ph.D. degree. The Political Science Department does not offer a Master's degree. Admitted students typically receive fellowship funding for five years. The funding includes two years of a teaching assistantship and is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and progress.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is December 15th at 11:59PM PST. Applications should be submitted online here beginning October 1. Official reports of GRE scores must arrive by January 5th.

The Graduate Executive Committee reviews all completed applications and makes decisions about admissions. Applicants are required to remember their user ID and password so that they may receive decision information online. Please see the online application system website for more information about the application fee and the process.